Friday, February 28, 2014

Chair Socks - Basic Pattern

When I just moved in 2012. I wrote how crafting is home and I've shown that I'm knitting my lovely beechwood chair some socks. These are some good socks and they have surely worked hard for almost two years protecting my floors from scratching and my ears from noise and now came a time for them to be replaced.

So I have knit a new set of socks:

This is for size referece when not streched on a chair leg. Plus it looks so weird, like backward designed glove :D

As many people still arrive to this blog following a search for "chair socks" I decided to put my simple pattern here.

(or should I say "furniture socks" as you can put this on tables, cupboards and couches with legs)

Needles: 4 steel DPNs size 2 mm
Yarn: leftovers from old knitted vest, frogged recently for recycling
Size: it depends on your gauge and choice of warn/needles (these fit snugly on legs with 5 cm diameter)
Type: simple, bottom-up

Cast on 9 following disappearing loop method (It would be 8 for pattern but since disappearing loop calls for odd number it is one more, hence 9, tug gently on the tail end to check if everything works and divide stitches onto 3 dpns, I prefer 2+2+4 (here 2+2+5 because of 9th stitch). Work in rounds.
1st row: knit
2nd row: kbf stitches 1-7, knit stitch 8 and 9 - this should give you 4+4+8 stitches total
3rd row: knit
4th row: knit
5th row: *kfb 1, k1* repeat to end of row - this should give you 6+6+12 stitches total
6th row: knit
rows 7-37: 1x1 rib (*k1, p1* all around)
Bind off loosely, but not  too lose so the sock will "hug" the leg nicely. I prefer to bind of simply, with purl stitches (just like following this tutorial, only purl-wise) because I like how purl bumps look as border.

Finish by weaving in firmly and invisibly all ends on the wrong side and give your chairs a makeover.

Obviously, you need to make as many socks as your chair/couch/table has legs (so it will not wobble) but when you finish up the first one try it on to make sure it fits. If it is too big try making one with less stitches (just remember there has to be even number to stay in pattern 1x1 rib) or adding up more stitches in 5th row (so all adding up will be done on the bottom, before sock needs to circle the circumference of the leg.

If you like, you can add some color by making it stripey, but if you decide on some small-scale fair isle take care to make it stretchy enough to fit the leg.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Portman - The Man Who Carries a Light

While we are on a subject of enjoying one’s moment I thought to tell you a thing or two about one of my favorite albums of 2013.

Taken at album promotion gig at KSET 03Oct2013

Portman - The Man Who Carries a Light

I wrote about Portman before; when they supported Maybeshewill in Attack in 2012 and about album promotion in October 2013. and if you checked that out you it may seem to you that I like them very much - but, I would like to elaborate that.

From their promotional material one can learn that:

"Portman is instrumental trio from Našice. They work as a band from 2004. and they have released two albums in this period: Pereskesije (2009., Lady Records) and The Man Who Carries A Light (October 2013., Klub dostava zvuka and Lady Records). The Man Who Carries A Light was recorded at House of Pablo in Zagreb and it was recorded and produced by" no other than Leo Klaić, the man who has surely became my absolutely favorite Croatian music scene name (She loves Pablo, Elephant Stalker, Killed a Fox)." This album consists of 8 instrumental pieces in which, except basic post-rock sound, many other musical influences interlace - from stoner riffs to psychedelics and heavy metal vibes. Portman members also play in other bands like Hesperian Death Horse, Uthovar, Oprosti."

Also in their promotional materials one can read that: 

“The Man Who Carries A Light is an allegory of a man who is able to influence his environment and change the world to make it better. It is a man who did not lose hope, who kept his unyielding spirit, who did not give up on himself or on others. Song titles stem from the man himself, his environment and the difficult position in this bleak world in which materialism coerces him to abandon his values in the course of fighting for survival. Album is inspired by  man’s animal need for exclusively personal survival, with situation and unpromising position of individual in a world we live in. Song listing consists of two subgroups; first 4 songs (Put, Ris, Roj, Trn i.e. Road, Lynx, Swarm, Thorn respectively) are connected with man’s environment and nature, while second 4 (Sit, Srp, Krv, Rob i.e. Satiated, Sickle, Blood, Slave respectively) relate to the man himself and his struggle with existence and preoccupation with survival and power.”

I do not really see all that: the trouble, the survival, the loss of values - and if I weren’t told this story I doubt I would hear this in the music.

But I LOOOVE this album.

Absolutely love it.

I listen to it almost every day from when it was released and I love its metallic undertones under its post-rockish façade.

I love how it starts and how I can hear it in my lungs even when I only listen to it through the headphones. I love how the songs organically flow one into the other and I love how they are all so good I change which I like best at least three times a week. I love how they feel so unyielding and unapologetic and I love how I see the frontman’s face in my mind’s eye like an exquisite jewel of introversion - not really singling him out as a person but as a symbol of everything my inner introvert finds worthy of undivided awe.

I love how this is an immediate pick-me-up whenever I feel under the weather and demoralized.

I love how I can put it on and immediately forget that I work with people and all the disgust that goes with that.

And most of all I love how this is THE go-to album of a person raised on heavy metal who at some time gave up on finicky nature of lyrics and sailed into post rock voicelessness as onto an ocean of sincerity. 

Wait, what am I saying?! 

It seems that I actually DO see all that - the trouble, the survival, the loss of values - and that one CAN hear this in the music too.

Check it out. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

" Every moment you spend wishing you were someplace else is a moment you can't get back."

… and that point is comfortably situated within short review (just opinion, really) of a movie so if you do not appreciate spoilers do return AFTER you have watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

This is original movie poster

“Stop Dreaming. Start Living” says the advertisement billboard.

I like Ben Stiller. I find him small-framed but exquisitely beautiful and well-proportioned and I can imagine his good looks being a disadvantage in life. I like the impeccable timing of his jokes and his trademark “sarcastic deadpan disposition” displayed in many of his roles. In a way, this movie, one that both features him as a lead and as a director stands in this place of the time continuum as a lovely milepost in a crossroads of reality and fiction.

And  standing for fiction here is Walter Mitty, but there is not much fictional in Walter Mitty when regarded from this place in sociocultural milieu of western civilization. In fact, there are so many Mitties around us today he is so average he’s boring. Middle-aged, unattached, run-off-the-mill, conformist, anonymous male, still connected only to the nuclear family of his origination. This has become so common it is unsavory. In contrast with Walter Mitty of Thurber’s original short story, one that invents his secret life to escape the routine of married middle-age life of accomplished citizen Walter Mitties of today create secret lives to escape insipidness of their lives of un-accomplishment. As Killing Time, fellow blogger I follow and enjoy reading has recently summarized:

"I think I'm growing old.

I admit - this sounded quite silly, of course I'm growing old. We all are. What I wanted to say is that I think I'm old already. I do not feel old, but there are indicators I cannot ignore. One of them is that I'm less wise than few years ago. This is the sign of my generation aging. We do not have time to wait fortieth birthday to enter midlife crisis, we want to act like idiots now! And that is not because we feel we haven't experienced enough, just the opposite: we behaved like idiots our whole lives and suddenly we arrived at an age when we should stop. Our version of existential crisis manifests in a decision to continue behaving like idiots. That is also the reason why we cannot afford Maybach or jet-propelled motorbike so we could have bare minimum of style in our living through this premature crisis."

So we watch our Walter going on and on with his existence. Going to work, paying bills, taking care of things, having relationships, connecting with people, being a good person, being a good boss, being a poster employee, accomplishing things... and yet - daydreaming of a different life, of noteworthy life, life of meaning and substance and passion.

Waiting for things to happen not realizing that things are happening already and have been happening all along.

We hear Walter insisting, more than once, that he hasn't really done anything or that he hasn't really been anywhere but just mere minutes later he is describing his life and magnifficent things he accomplished him not even realizing their value. Forever waiting that his life actions are ascribed value from the outside. For world to weigh his endeavors and convince him that he's worthy, but not accepting this judgement if it really happens.

This is the real predicament and disease of Today. In a world where you can easily share your accomplishments with 6 billion people with an action as simple as tweet, reality of the fact:"You are unique, just like everyone else." can easily devalue anything one accomplishes instead of being social adhesive and adding to one's self-worth. So we go through life feeling inadequate and mend the holes in our souls with stupid escapism. Earth continues to revolve and we continue to breathe, to breed, to put one foot in front of the other never seeing the quintessence.

The quintessence.

There is a scene in The Secret Life of Walther Mitty in which he manages to attain unattainable all the while not giving himself credit for what he accomplishes and at the very same time he witnessess somebody else having a moment of simmilar success - but that success being somebody else's accoplishment makes that he easily recognizes it as special and treats it as such. Walter, against all odds, finds his photographer in the Himalayas and the photographer manages to get the long sought snow leopard into the focus of his camera. There is a small exchange of words:

Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?

Sean O'Connell: Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.

Walter Mitty: Stay in it?

Sean O'Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.
And THIS is my point connecting this review with my prevoius post, my nook in which I currently reside enjoying a moment in my life.

Movie continues a bit, shortly after that revealing the quintessence...

... which happens to be a keyhole view into Walter's life, noteworthy life, life of meaning and substance and passion, just what that life always has been.

Beauty of that moment of Walter's life finally being a flow-through space, and not an inflamed apendix that ultimately dissolves him is a beauty of a fulfilled life; not only priceless but beyond cost.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Basic Unit of Matter

I was not blogging for some time as one most curious thing happened.

It all felt just right. 

The kid, the job, the relationships, the crafts - just right. I just did not have anything to complain about and it felt too weird to say: "You know, my life is in a such a nice homeostatic state I feel embaraced to point it out."

But it seems that this state is still ongoing and now it seems silly not to say anything.

Because, it isn't as if everything was well. Like, in the workplace I still daily get two meltdowns before lunch and go around groaning:" OH my fcukin God, it must take these people all their mental capacity just to get dressed in the morning and not wear their pants on their head!" And relationships are similarly messed up but it felt so appropriate I just did not fret. There was some frogging and some wips that turned into other wips before becoming FOs and I felt somehow pleasantly grown-up. I did some running (my cooper is still 1.9!) and some days I just went to bed right after work, not doing the dishes and not feeling lazy to leave them there.

Awkwardly beautiful and unexplicably present.

What brings me to another point...